Jacksonville receives Tomato Bowl project updates

by Cristin Parker news@mediactr.com

Jacksonville Independent School District’s Board of Trustees adopted the district’s 2018-19 budget and property tax rate, just in time for the new school year.

JISD held a public hearing on both items during its regular meeting held Tuesday, Aug. 28. No members of the public attended to give comments. Trustees opted to keep the district’s property tax rate the same as last year’s -- $1.04 for maintenance and operations and $0.425 for interest and sinking, for a total tax rate of $1.4650 per $100 of property valuation.

Trustees also approved the proposed $50,799,762 budget for the upcoming fiscal year -- $40,959,443 for the general fund; $2,857,756 for school nutrition; and $6,983,563 for debt service.

Associate Superintendent of Finance Lindey Finley presented figures to board members during the regular board meeting held Monday, July 30.

“We’re addressing needs at every level,” Finley told board members in July. “Unfortunately, our enrollment is not going up. If our Average Daily Attendance (ADA) numbers don’t start to trend upward, we may have to start looking at cutting positions in the near future. That’s not fun for anyone.”

Finley reported 69 percent of the general fund comes from state revenue, based on the district’s ADA; 29 percent from local property tax collections; and 2 percent from federal funds – which includes a 2.5 percent (an average of $1,200 per employee) pay raise for staff.

“About 85 percent of our general fund is payroll costs,” Finley said. “We’re doing everything we can to support our principals, to get them what they need and what their staff needs to succeed. And that includes keeping morale high.”

Finley also reported in July the county’s property tax valuations are up this year by about 6.5 percent for the district.

In other business, JISD board members received reports on the district’s accountability rating and the progress of the district’s ongoing construction projects, including the renovation of the Tomato Bowl.

Jacksonville ISD (4,987 students on eight campuses) scored a B (recognized) with an overall score of 81 of 100. All JISD campuses, excluding the Compass Center, met standards. The Compass Center was not rated.

Other items Jacksonville school board members approved during the Aug. 28 meeting include:

- a resolution for commitment of general and special revenue funds’ unassigned fund balances;

- a TASB policy update;

- attendance incentive plans for Jacksonville Middle School and Jacksonville High School;

- the JISD Student Code of Conduct; and

- a resolution to sell surplus real property.